We’ve all been there—a problem that won’t yield; a sense that we are missing something important. And then, seemingly out of the blue (and often when we’re not thinking about it), an insight hits, and the problem instantly dissolves.
If you’re not having as many insights as you want, here’s maybe why: When faced with a problem, we occupy ourselves by interrogating our memory for solutions—thinking that the answer lies there if we could only access it. We plow and replow what we already know. In the process, our thinking becomes more pressured; we get frustrated and bear down ever harder. In this pressured state, insights become more elusive.